Sentencing set for December.
Frederick, Md (KM) In Frederick County Circuit Court on Friday, a verdict was rendered in the case of local pediatrician Dr. Ernesto Torres. The judge found Torres guilty of 2nd-degree assault and 4th-degree sex offense, and not-guilty of 2nd-degree rape.
During a news conference in front of the County Court House, State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said “the judge got it wrong”: in his not-guilty verdict on 2nd-degree rape. “I just can’t believe that someone in a position of authority and a position of trust who digitally penetrates one of their patients is not considered force. But that’s the way the judge ruled. I respectfully disagree with him in that regard,” he said.
Dr. Torres had been on trial since Tuesday for sexually abusing an 18-year-old woman who was one of his life long patients. On April 26th, she visited his office on Thomas Johnson Drive for a follow-up appointment to discuss her anxiety medication. In testimony in court, she claimed Dr. Torres touched her genitals during the examination. During an interview of Dr. Torres by a police detective which was played at trial, the defendant admitted that he probably touched the woman’s privates while she was laying down on the exam table. The prosecution argued that Dr. Torres touched the victims’ vagina while he examined her abdomen.
The case wrapped up on Thursday as prosecutors and defense attorneys gave their closing arguments. Judge William Nicklas said he would render a verdict on Friday.
Earlier in the week, Dr. Torres waived his right to a jury trial, and opted for a bench trial where a judge, rather than a jury, determines guilt or innocence.
Sentencing is scheduled for December 19th. Because the 2nd-degree assault and 4th-degree sex offenses counts were merged, Smith say Dr. Torres could get a one-year sentence. His bond was not revoked.
Even though he’s not happy with the outcome, Smith says there are other cases against Dr. Torres by victims claiming he abused them when they were his patients. “We have 11 other charged victims, some as young as 10 who claim digital penetration as well. This is not over,” he said.
And Smith says other victims have come forward claiming similar alleged behavior by Dr. Torrres. “We’ve had 20 and counting other victims come forward. One as recently as two days ago, come forward, alleging similar conduct,” he says. “So we’re going to do them justice as well. We’re going to investigate them. We’re going to take a look at them individually and determine how to proceed.”
Smith says that puts the total of between 30 and 35 alleged victims.
Dr. Torres was indicted earlier this year for sexually abusing 12 patients